Business Development Workshop
Running a business is one thing. But for many Montrose business owners, the idea of self-promotion, public relations and using social media to reach one’s customer base may seem daunting. That was the subject of the third installment of Montrose Management District’s Business Development Workshop on October 13 at Underbelly. The workshop featured presentations from Michele Price, owner of Breakthrough Business Strategies, and Daniel Cohen, founder and lead writer at RedShift Writers.
The Business Development Workshop series aims to help Montrose business owners navigate the trickier aspects of owning a business in Houston, beyond day-to-day in-office operations. The first workshop, in June, featured restaurant and bar owner Bobby Heugel, who spoke about creating an effect business plan. The second workshop, in August, was led by Houston Planning & Development Department chief of staff Brian Crimmins, who spoke on navigating the city’s permitting process.
Montrose Management District plans to continue the series in 2014 with workshops in the fields of legal, HR, customer service/loyalty programs and more.
During October’s workshop, Cohen spoke about outsourcing communications to companies better able to handle them, and spoke about his experience creating marketing projects for local brands including Fresh and Fluffy Dry Dog Shampoo.
“Powerful people value more things than just money,” Cohen said.
Brainstorming a handful of selling points for your business or product is not enough, he said, suggesting business owners attempt to come up with at least 100 benefit or selling points for their business or product. The more points you have, he said, the more creative your messaging can be.
Cohen also talked about the important of interacting with customers on social media, whether that means Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.
“People come back to the places that value them.”
Price said business should use social media to build both community and loyalty. This means injecting a personality into your social media “voice” in order to relate to an audience. But she conceded that not everyone is adept at social media. That’s where outsourcing comes in. Price also suggested leveraging employees who are passionate about social media.
“Growing an audience takes touches. You need content in your feed that feeds your customer too,” she said. “But if you’re not good at it, stop doing it.”
Price said social media isn’t just about interacting with your customers. It’s also about listening to conversations in your field, even competitors.
“If you did nothing on social media but listen, you’d be 90% ahead of your competition,” she said.
Price also talked about using social media to manage crises. She said that’s one of the reasons having a loyal online following comes in handy.
“You will always have dissatisfied customers. But the ones that don’t talk to you, you can’t turn around. The ones that do, don’t delete them. Give them an opportunity to take it offline. Then thank them,” she said. “Your audience will be the first to come to your defense.”
Stay tuned to the MMD website, Facebook and Twitter feeds for information on 2014’s workshops.